“All roads lead to Rome.”
The question is often asked: which technique is best for meditation? Should I practise mantra, breathing and counting, concentration on a candle, creative visualisation, singing or gazing at the sky?
We might as well ask, which is better – Lebanese or Thai food, Irish or Hungarian folk music, judo or karate, green or blue, sunrises or moonrises? There is no right or wrong, no better or best: they’re all good, and the one we choose is a matter of our personal preference.
Those with a good ear are more inclined towards singing, those with a good eye do better with visualisation. Basketball tends to favour the tall, rock-climbing the short. We can enjoy equally Indian, Italian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian food; we might play cricket, scrabble, frisbee and water polo. Our preferences might also vary according to our mood and circumstances.
For a beginner, the only essential thing is to start. Far more important than technique is attitude: the sincerity, eagerness and enthusiasm we apply.
Technique is the means to reach our goal, our road leading to Rome. We might walk, run, ride a bike or horse, drive a car, take the bus, the train or fly – all that matters is that we arrive.
It is tempting to obsess with technique, forgetting its purpose is to take us beyond itself, like the rocket engine that is ejected once it has powered us beyond the atmosphere. Technique is the usher who shows us to our seat and then withdraws; if the usher remains chatting, we cannot enjoy the concert.
Technique absolutely matters, as the means to reach our goal. Which technique, absolutely matters not. To gaze at the sun we must open our curtains. While gazing, the colour of the curtains is an irrelevance.